I had a friend who told me that bears sort of “fake” their hybernation. How true is that statement?

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    Bears do not fake their hibernation. But perhaps your friend is referring to how bears do not have nearly as deep of a sleep as “true hibernators” such as chipmunks and ground squirrels. Hibernation used to be a term that referred only to an animals ability to drop their heart rate, breathing, and body temperature in order to greatly slow their metabolism. But bears do not drop their body temperature nearly as much as is expected to slow their metabolism, yet their metabolism drops non-the-less. Perhaps bear’s hibernation is not as deep a sleep as most people think, but its still a long period of waiting out the winter. Bears have even been known to temporarily wake from their winter slumber and even leave their den for brief amounts of time. This is because they do not need to hibernate except for when there is not food abundance in the winter months. This is why they do not hibernate in zoos, they are usually fed year round in captivity. So you can tell your friends that bears are not “fakers” but that they are not 100% “true hibernators” and they do not unnecessarily need to hibernate each winter.

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